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Dean Jhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03515254534444061855noreply@blogger.comBlogger914125
Updated: 19 min 10 sec ago

Getting College Search Advice

July 1, 2014
I'm using a comment left by "GFK" as the jumping off point for this post.

I found this blog through a search (after reading a New York Times oped about admissions essays and feeling hopeless about advising our child on this topic) and have spent the entire weekend reading it almost in its entirety. This is the most incredible college admissions resource we have encountered. Living in Fairfax Country, there is no shortage of advice about the admissions process and it is hard to separate truth from fiction.

I realize that this blog is specific to UVA and though much of the information is applicable to the process overall, I wonder if you might share some advice for those of us who are hearing admissions information from all kinds of "insiders" right now.   First of all, I'm thrilled that GFK is asking about this. When you first start getting information in the college search, you read, you ponder, you share. It all seems like great stuff. As the information pours in, you might get overwhelmed.  
GFK is in an areas where the public (and most of the private) schools have excellent College and Career Centers. The Career Center Specialists and guidance counselors should be your first stop for general information about the college search. Those folks will also be able to share some great tools for narrowing all the great options down. They often have historical data about your school population and many different colleges and universities. If you know what a scattergram is, you know what I'm referencing. Of course, scattergrams don't tell you absolutes, but they can give you some basic information. 
We talk to counselors and career center specialists fairly regularly. Even the career center specialist I know who worked in admission for years calls and emails to verify information. Things are always changing, so that policy or practice that was in place three years ago may have shifted. I tend to have a mental list of things to tell my counselor/career center friends when I visit them in the fall so they know about what's new or different at UVa that year.
If your counselors have huge case loads or feel like you aren't getting enough information about the schools that interest you from the resources available to you online at at your school, call the admission offices at your schools. This seems like a no-brainer to some, but others seem to feel either nervous about calling us or have convinced themselves that we are suspicious folks who can't be consulted. Until I move into the reading season, my job is to make sure students have the information they need to decide if they should submit an application (more on this in a future post...I have a lot to say!).
You've probably encountered well meaning folks who want to help by sharing their observations of the admission process or experiences they've had helping past students through the process. Again, remember that schools and practices evolve. Admission officers are happy to talk to you by phone, email, or via social media. Reach out to us if you'd like to get current information.

Happy Birthday, CavDog (and a note for Instagram users)

June 24, 2014
It's almost a shame that CavDog's birthday comes at the time of year when students aren't around. His most favorite days are ones that include lots of hanging out with students. I guess that's to be expected when he's been to 39 Days on the Lawn!




The only thing that would get him more excited: crashing a breakfast party in a Lawn room and being welcomed with cream cheese.


CavDog celebrated his birthday without much fanfare yesterday. He's now seven years old!


By the way, if you are on Instagram, take a look at the @UVa_Summer account and the #uvasummer tag. The @UVa_Summer account is the work of a team of students who are working here over the summer. People all over Grounds are using the #uvasummer hashtag to show you what lives is like here when most of the students are away. It's a fun look into a part of UVa that many people don't experience!

Of course, I hope you'll also follow me, @UVaDeanJ.




Are You Reading Hoo Stories, the Student Blog?

June 13, 2014
A good number of UVa students stay in Charlottesville each summer to do various things. Some take classes to open up space in their schedules, some work, some do research, and some do a combination of those things. We're lucky that fantastic students opt to stay in town to work in our office every year. And while I love every season of our cycle, summer might be my favorite time because we get to see the summer student staff every single day.

For the last several years, the summer interns have taken over the HooStories blog. The blog passes from one group of students to the next, so the archive goes back several years. This year's group has hit the ground running and filled the blog with posts in a very short period of time. I think they've written more this month than almost any other group of students that has take over the blog!

If you aren't reading, you have to go check HooStories out!


2014-2015 First-Year Essay Questions

June 9, 2014
I've been posting our essay questions every June since 2007. It's always a nice way to mark the end of an application season and the beginning of a new one.

Towards the end of every reading season, we gather to talk about which essay questions elicited great responses, which ones could be tweaked to be better, and which essays we'd like to retire. We often pull students into our discussions to get their perspectives. Some of the specialty schools provide feedback and direction, too.

There are some questions on our application that prompt students to write interesting essays year after year, so we don't feel the need to change them. They've almost become traditions here, though the applicants rarely know this since few have looked at the application before.


You'll write one essay for the general Common Application and then you'll answer our essay prompts on the our "Member Screen" along with other questions that are specific to UVa. The Common App folks posted the main essay questions back in February. Here are ours:


2014-2015 First-Year Application Essay Questions

1.    We are looking for passionate students to join our diverse community of scholars, researchers, and artists.  Answer the question that corresponds to the school/program to which you are applying in a half page or roughly 250 words. 
  • College of Arts and Sciences - What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
  • School of Engineering and Applied Sciences - U.Va. engineers are working to solve problems that affect people around the world, from our long-term water purification project in South Africa to continuing to research more efficient applications of solar power. However, most students start small, by using engineering to make a difference in daily life. If you were given funding for a small engineering project that would make your everyday life better, what would you do?
  • School of Architecture - Describe an instance or place where you have been inspired by architecture or design.
  • School of Nursing - Discuss experiences that led you to choose the School of Nursing.
  • Kinesiology Program - Discuss experiences that led you to choose the kinesiology major.


2. Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words (Please select the prompt you are responding to):
  • What’s your favorite word and why?
  • We are a community with quirks, both in language (we’ll welcome you to Grounds, not campus) and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.
  • Student self-governance, which encourages student investment and initiative, is a hallmark of the U.Va. culture. In her fourth year at U.Va., Laura Nelson was inspired to create Flash Seminars, one-time classes which facilitate high-energy discussion about thought-provoking topics outside of traditional coursework. If you created a Flash Seminar, what idea would you explore and why?
  • While a student at U.Va., Fulbright Scholar Rowan Sprague conducted groundbreaking research aimed at protecting the complex structure of honeybee hives. We know that colonies include bees acting in a diverse range of roles, all equally important to the success of the hive. What role will you play in the U.Va. hive?
  • To tweet or not to tweet?     

A note about word limits:
We aren't counting words on these. The word limits are there tell you what is expected. The forms where you paste in your essay will cut you off at some point, but there is a little bit of leeway. Generally, the main essay is in the vicinity of a page and the UVa questions should be about half of a page. You aren't writing a term paper, but a concise, thoughtful statement that conveys your voice and personality.

The Class of 2018 is full

June 6, 2014
This afternoon, we'll email first-year students on the waiting list to let them know that the Class of 2018 is now full. Their SIS pages will also update with the same message.

After considering the size of the first-year class and the spaces available in the student body, I regret to inform you that we will not be able to offer you admission this year. Our first-year class is full and I believe it would be unfair to keep your name on the waiting list any longer.

We sincerely appreciate your interest in the University of Virginia and wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors. If you are interested in pursuing the possibility of transferring to the University after one or two years in another college or university, please visit our transfer pageto learn more about this process.

Sincerely,

Greg W. Roberts
Dean of Admission
University of Virginia
I know it was a long wait and this is disappointing news. I hope you can look at your chosen school and move forward with you plans to go there with excitement.

Thank you so much for being part of this blog.  Best wishes for a wonderful summer and exciting start to your college career!